Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Salt Lake City

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Environs of Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY (originally Great Salt Lake City), a city of the United States, the capital of Utah Territory and the metropolis of Mormonism, stands nearly in 41° N. lat. and 112° W. long., at a height of 4250 feet above the sea, on the brow of a slight decline at the western base of the Wahsatch range, and on the right bank of the Jordan, a stream which flows from Utah Lake into Great Salt Lake.[1] By the Utah Central Railroad the city is 36 miles south of Ogden Junction on the Union and Central Pacific Railroad, and it is the terminus of the Southern and Western Utah Railroads. The city is laid out chessboard fashion, with all the streets 137 feet wide and all the blocks 40 rods square. Shade and fruit trees have been freely planted, and on each side of every north and south street flows a stream of pure water in an open channel. With the exception of some modern erections, the houses are nearly all of sun-dried bricks. The largest and ugliest public building is the tabernacle, with its huge oval wooden dome. It is said to accommodate 8000 to 10,000 persons, and has the second largest organ in America. Within the same enclosure as the tabernacle are the endowment house, where the initiation ceremonies of Mormonism are performed, and the new Mormon temple (18745) erected at a cost of $10,000,000. Other conspicuous buildings are the city-hall, used as the Territorial capitol, the theatre, Walker’s opera house, the Salt Lake pavilion, the museum, the Deseret university, several hospitals, and the city prison. The population was 5000 in 1850, 8230 in 1860, 12,813 in 1870, and 20,768 in 1880 (86 coloured).

When Great Salt Lake City was founded in July 1847 (cf. Mormons, vol. xvi. p. 827) the whole region lay far beyond the advancing wave of western civilization. But the city did not long remain the isolated oasis in the desert which its first settlers made it; and it now has a considerable non-Mormon population, a United States garrison at Camp Douglas (between 2 and 3 miles distant), and United States judges.


  1. This lake, about 10 miles from the city, the principal body of water in the Great Fremont basin, is 70 miles long by 45 miles broad, has an area of 1900 square miles, and lies 4200 feet above the sea. The water of the lake contains about 6 times more than the average solid constituents of sea water, being almost as heavily impregnated (22·4 per cent.) as that of the Dead Sea (24·5 per cent.). The salt is used in the city without artificial refining.